Pieces of Eight

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Pieces of Eight
Styx - Pieces of Eight.jpg
Studio album by
ReleasedSeptember 1, 1978
Recorded1978 at Paragon Recording Studios in Chicago and St. James Cathedral (Chicago)
Styx chronology
The Grand Illusion
Pieces of Eight
Singles from Pieces of Eight
  1. "Blue Collar Man (Long Nights)"
    Released: September 1978
  2. "Sing for the Day"
    Released: December 1978
  3. "Renegade"
    Released: January 8, 1979

Pieces of Eight is the eighth studio album by Styx, released on September 1, 1978.

Like the band's previous album, The Grand Illusion (1977), it managed to achieve triple platinum certification, thanks to the hit singles "Blue Collar Man (Long Nights)" and "Renegade".

The band members produced and recorded the album (like their previous three efforts) at Paragon Studios in Chicago with recording engineer Barry Mraz and mixing engineer Rob Kingsland. "I'm O.K." was recorded at Paragon and St. James Cathedral. This would be the last album to be produced at Paragon Studios.

Some[1][2] consider the album to be Styx' second concept album (1973's The Serpent Is Rising arguably being the first) as well as the last Styx album with significant progressive rock leanings. The theme of the album, as Dennis DeYoung explained on In the Studio with Redbeard which devoted an entire episode to Pieces of Eight, was about "not giving up your dreams just for the pursuit of money and material possessions".

Two of the album's ten tracks are instrumentals: the DeYoung synthesizer showcase "The Message" and Tommy Shaw's closing "Aku-Aku" (although for the latter, there was one lyric spoken, the title of the song). "The Message" serves as a prelude for "Lords of the Ring", and "Aku-Aku" is a postlude for "Pieces of Eight".

The album's cover was done by Hipgnosis. DeYoung stated in the same 1991 interview with Redbeard on the "In the Studio" episode that he initially hated the cover but grew to like it as he got older.

Critical reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
AllMusic4/5 stars [3]
Robert Christgau(C-) [4]
Rolling Stone(mixed) [5]
The Rolling Stone Album Guide2.5/5 stars [6]

Mike DeGagne of AllMusic has retrospectively praised the album, saying that the songs on the album "rekindle some of Styx's early progressive rock sound, only cleaner."[3] Contemporary Rolling Stone reviewer Lester Bangs was more critical of the album, however, saying that "What's really interesting is not that such narcissistic slop should get recorded, but what must be going on in the minds of the people who support it in such amazing numbers. Gall, nerve and ego have never been far from great rock & roll. Yet there's a thin but crucial line between those qualities and what it takes to fill arenas today: sheer self-aggrandizement on the most puerile level. If these are the champions, gimme the cripples."[5]

The album peaked at #6 on the Billboard album chart, and like its predecessor would go triple platinum.[7]

Track listing[edit]

Side One[edit]

  1. "Great White Hope" (James Young) – 4:22
    • Lead vocals and lead guitar: Young
  2. "I'm O.K." (Dennis DeYoung, Young) – 5:41
    • Lead vocals, synthesizer solo and pipe organ: DeYoung
    • Lead guitar: Tommy Shaw
  3. "Sing for the Day" (Shaw) – 4:57
    • Lead vocals, mandolin, all guitars: Shaw
  4. "The Message" (DeYoung) – 1:08
    • All synthesizers: DeYoung
  5. "Lords of the Ring" (DeYoung) – 4:33
    • Lead vocals and middle guitar solo: Young
    • Ending guitar solo: Shaw
    • Synthesizer solos: DeYoung

Side Two[edit]

  1. "Blue Collar Man (Long Nights)" (Shaw) – 4:05
    • Lead vocals and lead guitar: Shaw
  2. "Queen of Spades" (Young, DeYoung) – 5:38
    • Lead vocals: DeYoung
    • Lead guitar: Young
  3. "Renegade" (Shaw) – 4:13
    • Lead vocals: Shaw
    • Lead guitar: Young
  4. "Pieces of Eight" (DeYoung) – 4:44
    • Lead vocals: DeYoung
    • Lead guitar: Shaw
  5. "Aku-Aku" (Instrumental) (Shaw) – 2:57
    • Lead guitar and whisper chant: Shaw





AlbumBillboard (United States)

Year Chart Position
1978 Pop Albums 6

Singles – Billboard (United States)

Year Single Chart Position
1978 "Blue Collar Man (Long Nights)" Pop Singles 21
1979 "Sing for the Day" 41
"Renegade" 16


  1. ^ http://ultimateclassicrock.com/styx-pieces-of-eight/
  2. ^ http://teamrock.com/feature/2015-12-03/styx-the-press-slaughtered-us-i-was-convinced-prog-rock-was-dead
  3. ^ a b DeGagne, Mike. Pieces of Eight at AllMusic. Retrieved June 23, 2011.
  4. ^ Christgau, Robert. "Styx - Pieces of Eight (1978) album review". Retrieved June 23, 2011.
  5. ^ a b Bangs, Lester (December 28, 1978). "Styx - Pieces of Eight (1978) album review". Rolling Stone. Wenner Media. Archived from the original on June 23, 2011. Retrieved June 23, 2011.
  6. ^ Brackett, Nathan; Christian Hoard (2004). The Rolling Stone Album Guide. New York City, New York: Simon and Schuster. p. 789. ISBN 0-7432-0169-8.
  7. ^ Moseley, Willey (November 13, 2010). "Concert Review: The Grand Illusion/Pieces of Eight Tour - Atlanta, GA". Retrieved December 26, 2012. Moreover, the choice of 1977's The Grand Illusion and 1978's Pieces of Eight probably didn't come as any surprise, either—those two releases were STYX's first Triple Platinum albums.

External links[edit]